A trend we like: many people (novices and experts alike) are rediscovering the joys of strapping on XC skis and heading off road in Northern Michigan, leaving the set-track behind. Take advantage of Feb’s longer days and warmer temps to free your inner explorer. These skis will help.

Karhu XCD Guide

A beefier width (109 mm tip), sculpted length (79 mm at waist) and metal edge means this ski was built for turns more than touring. Telemarkers call it a yo-yo ski: ski up the hill, tele turn down, do it again, and again. Won’t fit in a track, but that’s the point. $339 at The Cross Country Ski Shop, Grayling, 989-348-8558, xcskishop.Com.

Rossignol BC 65 AR

Waxless, mid-length and full metal edge outfits this ski well for the backcountry. The 65mm width still fits in a track. Lighter than a full tele ski, but the metal edge delivers control on the hills. $199 at The Cross Country Ski Shop, Grayling, 989-348-8558, xcskishop.com.

Fischer BC Country Crown

Good flotation and easy handling. Lack of metal edge keeps the ski light. A waxless and durable stalwart, with a rock-solid track record. Fits in a ski track too. $150 at Outfitter of Harbor Springs, 231-526-2621, outfitterharborsprings.com.

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